Nets Rookie Day’Ron Sharpe goes apartment shopping.

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Day’Ron Sharpe instinctively poked his head under the door and scanned the apartment. Its shape was a straight line perpendicular to it with two bedrooms and a bathroom to its left; another bedroom and bathroom to its right; and a kitchen, living room and balcony opening in bright light from large windows in front of it.

At that point, it didn’t matter that this brand new building in downtown Brooklyn was still covered in dust. It didn’t matter that he had just taken an elevator with insulated walls and plywood floors. It didn’t matter if the construction crew left a ladder and soda bottles in the living room, or the fire alarm sounded a low battery warning every 60 seconds. All that mattered was this: he could imagine being at home in this apartment.

Sharpe had been looking for a home for only an hour and already behaved like a New York apartment buyer forever. He overlooked the apartment’s flaws and instead focused on its attributes. He smiled and said, “Oh, yeah, that’s it.”

When most people enter the workforce, they at least have a say in where they will live. But that’s not the case for elite NBA prospects like Sharpe, a 6-foot-11, 265-pound center from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The Phoenix Suns selected Sharpe with the 29th pick in the July NBA Draft and traded rights with the Nets. And her schedule for the next month was as busy as the city itself. He first flew to New York to complete his physical exam and sign his contract. Then he returned home to North Carolina to pack his bags for the Summer League in Las Vegas. He spent most of August in Nevada before making another pit stop in North Carolina on his way back to New York.

It was August 28 and Sharpe, 19, needed to find an apartment for the first time in his adult life. And he had to do it before the Nets started training camp on September 28.

If it all sounded overwhelming, Sharpe wasn’t showing it. He was casually dressed in gray sweat shorts, a black T-shirt and high tops Jordan 5s. From the backseat of his black Cadillac Escalade with driver, he marveled at the Manhattan skyline and mentally noted the restaurants people had recommended to him. On the way to the first apartment – a 1,600 square foot three-room apartment on the 23rd floor with stunning views of Midtown – Sharpe saw an Ample Hills Creamery store. “It’s a huge bonus,” he said. “I’ve heard that ice cream is really good. I can’t wait to try it.

Sharpe had several priorities for his new apartment, and luckily he had the budget for them. The NBA uses a salary scale for first-round picks, so Sharpe will make around $ 2 million this year from his Nets salary alone, and over $ 6 million if he does nothing more than stay on. the team roster for three seasons. In a city where nearly half of all households spend more than 30% of their income on rent and almost a quarter spend more than 50%, Sharpe’s salary is a luxury. Although his financial advisor told him not to worry about his rent, the homes he considered cost no more than $ 10,000 per month, which would be about 5% of his gross income.

As well as staying on budget, he wanted to be close to both the Nets’ training center in Industry City and the Barclays Center in Prospect Heights. He wanted a place that accepts animals because he is considering adopting a dog. He wanted good Wi-Fi so he could play Call of Duty: Warzone and NBA 2K. And he wanted a three bedroom apartment so that his parents, Derrick and Michelle Sharpe, and his cousin Trevion Williams could live with him.

“Family is the most important thing to me,” said Sharpe. “I wouldn’t be here without them, and I’m happy they are here with me as I make my NBA debut.”

Sharpe grew up in Greenville, a city in eastern North Carolina with a population of less than 100,000. He has always been a Tar Heel fan, and his childhood dream of playing basketball for them started to come true when he grew one foot between sixth and eighth grade and entered the South. Central High School at 6 feet 7 inches. In grade 10, he made his first trip to New York, for a basketball tournament. He stood speechless at the illuminated Times Square billboards and remembered thinking, “This place is seriously cluttered. “

As a high school student, he led the Falcons to a 30-1 record and a Class 4A state championship. He got his first impression of living independently as a senior in high school when he transferred to Montverde Academy, Florida’s training center. He shared a bedroom – and a bunk bed – with Caleb Houstan, who now plays for Michigan. Sharpe took the top bunk so his feet could hang over the foot of the twin bed. “People think I need a big bed,” he said, “but I’d be happy if I just had a queen at this point.”

Sharpe came off the bench in his only season in North Carolina, but he was outsized in his 19.2 minutes per game. His 18.2 offensive rebound percentage was No. 1 in the nation, according to KenPom.com. When Sharpe declared himself for the NBA Draft, North Carolina coach Roy Williams, who retired after the season, I called him “one of the greatest rebounders I have ever coached.” Sharpe’s 40-minute averages of 19.8 points and 15.8 rebounds underscored his potential impact had he had more playing time. NBA teams admired his ability to pass from the post and his comfort to the post. play in an offensive pick-and-roll style that dominates the league. He thinks he’ll fit into the Nets’ rotation – which is slim for the big men – at the start of this season.

But before he found his place with the Nets, he had to find his place in Brooklyn.

He liked the 23rd floor unit, even though the master bedroom, he said, “was smaller than my dorm.” His real estate agent, Douglas Elliman’s Joshua Lieberman, laughed and told him that was something he might have to live with. But Sharpe couldn’t comply with the pet policy. The building manager told him he could have a dog, but that he should be smaller. “I want one fat dog, he said. “I want to say, really fat. I am a big guy. I can’t be here with a little Chihuahua.

Lieberman assured him that the problems with the second apartment – the one with dust, trash and the alarm – were to be expected in a new construction. On the plus side, he would be the first person to live in the unit and among the building’s first tenants, which featured a rooftop terrace with a dog play area, two lounges, a business center, a two-story gym with sauna and steam room, and mini cinema room. Sharpe liked that he and his cousin could have adjoining bedrooms, while his parents had the master on the other end of the unit. “There are two of them,” he said, “and only one of me. As long as I have my bed and my games, I’m fine.

The final roster for the day was in Brooklyn Heights, closer to the Nets’ training center. The building sort of had even more amenities, including a dance hall and a virtual golf simulator, but the unit only had two bedrooms and a bathroom, and Sharpe didn’t want to put his cousin to sleep on it. the sofa all season. Even an enviable view of the Statue of Liberty couldn’t persuade him.

After the final list, he got back into the Escalade and asked the driver to take him into town to get his parents a pizza. When the car pulled up, he noticed he was back in Ample Hills. Sharpe realized it was only a mile and a half from the apartment he had nicknamed “the one” and said it was time to buy some ice cream. Inside the store, the first flavor he saw was Coffee Toffee Coffee, and he ordered it without even looking at over a dozen other options. It was a day of decision.

He took the ice cream outside to Brooklyn Bridge Park. His real estate agent pointed to a location rapper Nas performed in 2016, and then he showed Sharpe ESPN’s South Street Seaport studios across the water. Sharpe picked up a big dollop of ice cream then leaned back on the handrail and looked at the water. “Mm-mm! “he said.” I think I’m going to like living here.



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